Bees are dying in droves. Why? Leading apiarist Dennis vanEngelsdorp looks at the gentle, misunderstood creature’s important place in nature and the mystery behind its alarming disappearance.
Michael Pollan, author and professor, U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
Pollination: it’s vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film “Wings of Life,” inspired by the vanishing of one of nature’s primary pollinators, the honeybee.
We hear a lot about grass fed cows and cage free chickens. It’s a step in the right direction, no doubt. If you have watched “Cowspiracy” or “Food Inc,” you know what I’m talking about.
The other day, my boss joked: “If the cow is grass fed, does it count as a vegan steak?” I laughed out loud – but no.
Do these cows and chickens get massive doses of hormones to grow, get fat, and generate revenue faster?
Do these cows and chickens get massive doses of antibiotics to prevent or treat diseases, hence becoming more and more resistant to them?
How about when they are about to be slaughtered?
The initial scene of a documentary I almost watched but had to stop because it was too disturbing, shows a cow trying to escape when her friend goes behind the doors to be killed. One can clearly see the panic in her eyes and desperation in her body. Can you imagine the rush of adrenaline in her blood stream, the stress, and the fear? All this adrenaline hormone will be served on your plate in the beautiful medium rare steak you are about to enjoy.
What effect will those chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and toxins have in your body and on your long term health?
We all should look up info on animal agriculture and factory farming.
Saturday morning, getting vegan bread at a famous high-end organic market, I start paying attention to the crowds. I see Birkenstocks, one pair of stilettos and running shoes. A tie dye shirt, chino bermudas, and dozens of yoga pants. The granola hippie and the sophisticated climate change fighter. A headphone with cat ears. Everybody looking at their smartphones.
The lines are long and the aisles seem too skinny for so many bodies walking up and down. I see lots of angry frowns and nervous foot tapping. I hear impatient sighs and exasperated “Ex-cu–se me!” more than once.
Wait! Aren’t these organic peaceful humans, animal lovers, grass fed beef eaters, yoga aficionados, non GMO consumers, gluten and dairy intolerant people supposed to be chill? Don’t they believe in universal love? Don’t they practice endless compassion?
They seem to fit the annoyed, critical, judgmental, and self-righteous stereotype of vegetarian/vegans.
Are they like that because they are vegetarian/vegan or they are vegetarian/vegan because they are like that?
Does dedicating their lives to healthy living give them a sense of entitlement?
I would say no. When I go to the other organic market down the street I see some friendly faces and a couple of smiles.
Still, the judgmental and self-entitled give vegans a bad rep.
A little less frowning and way more smiling would help the cause immensely.
I have two dear friends, one vegan, and one vegetarian. One has cats and the other has dogs. Both have been patiently teaching me about veganism and cruelty-free products. Both love animals but do have opposing views.
One won’t buy any products or work for any cruelty-free company if the parent company is not cruelty-free. She will not give her money to those companies.
The other will purchase items from the cruelty-free with a non-cruelty-free parent company because she believes that by doing that, she will demonstrate to the non-cruelty-free parent company that investing in products that are not tested on animals generates revenue.
Who do you agree with and why?
I’d love to hear your opinion, please leave your comments.
My friends expect me to judge them on their food choices. I have to remind them that I’m all for Freedom, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Food. Your body, your temple, not mine.
My Bestie loves frog legs and lamb, what can I say? Do I like her less for that? Nope! I just make fun of her and we laugh. I bake banana bread and bring it to the office just to show her that vegan does not have to taste like cardboard.
Freedom of food includes no criticism, judgment or radicalism.
One of the things we hear the most is “I could never be vegan.” Let me tell you a little secret: It’s not as complicated and time-consuming as it seems. Seriously, the kitchen is my enemy and I can’t cook even if my life depends on it.
If you are curious about this lifestyle, experiment and start small. Don’t go cold turkey. Instead of removing food, try adding or swapping. Instead of white rice, try brown rice. Add a vegetable or two to your plate. Instead of a whole chicken breast, have half and add some beans to your meal. Instead of cow or goat milk try one of the several varieties such as almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk. Add avocado and tomatoes to your sandwiches. Make smoothies with coconut milk and frozen fruit. Add nuts to your salads or eat them as snacks. Try a vegan burger just for the fun of it!
Explore your artistic side and get creative in the kitchen. Play with colors in your dishes. Add beautiful red and yellow bell peppers to your plates or sprinkle your eggs with orange Tumeric. Find the beauty of adding purple blueberries to your pale oatmeal.
My days are a little rushed sometimes so I have a few basics in my pantry and fridge: lentil soups, veggie burgers, non-dairy bread, non-dairy cream cheese, tofu, mushroom, and spices. These can be meals in just a few minutes. For dessert, I love soy ice cream or vegan chocolate cake.
Most important of all: Have Lots of Fun!
I feel blessed to be living in a city that is very alternative, where art and creativity is abundant and being vegan is rad. It’s easy to find great farmer’s markets and vegan restaurants. The vegan burgers are to die for. Visible piercings and flip flops in the office are ok. Fast free wifi connection is open around the city or on the shuttle to work.
Grassroots groups are taking care of business and luxurious nature is just a few minutes away. Meditation retreats, pilates classes, and bike lanes are everywhere.We have the yoga snobs and the cool nerd kids.
In my Silicon Valley office, we have a choice of vegan dishes as well as organic vegetables and fruits. A juice bar that makes you feel healthy just by looking at the menu! A meditation room and zen-like massages with essential oils.
Everybody is gluten-lactose-intolerant and allergic to nuts. Have you heard of butter in the coffee for ultimate energy? Ew!
A friend of mine gets really annoyed with each new food, juice, health fad that pops up on the news. He screams furiously and gesticulates animatedly at the TV and promises never to try the new thing.
As I jump with each scream and laugh until my tummy hurts I ponder… Would we be talking about plant based diet if it were not for all these fads. How about all the interesting Netflix food documentaries I’ve been watching on the last few years?
Yes, fads are created so peeps make money. I personally would not follow them blindly. I love gluten, nuts, caffeine and just don’t drink or eat dairy for the animals sake.
As long as these fads bring some interesting discussion to the table, I’m ok with them.
Is up to each one of us to use our common sense and make good choices. Remember when smoking was a symbol of sophistication? You probably weren’t born at the time but take a look at the good ol’ Hollywood movies.
Fads can be silly but why not make them a good start point for a conversation about plant-based nutrition and animal welfare?
In an era of social media, newspaper extinction and instant news storms, I feel overwhelmed. My head hurts and my eyes burn. Lost in a sea of information, I seek the truth. Is the truth in the eyes of the beholder?
Making life choices get me so confused and I’m not a millennial. There is this constant struggle for the right food, the right shampoo, the right eyeliner, the right shoes. Like everybody else, I want to be healthy and not cause pain to any human or non-human creature.
I want to know everything that is going on around the world. I want to learn how to save animals. I want to find out why on a molecular level meat is not the best choice.
At 5 am, I’m going frantically through tweets and Facebook and Instagram too, looking for the newest news about plant-based nutrition. I navigate an endless stream of information but I don’t have time to deep dive into it. Where does this info come from? Who said what? Is this scientifically proven? Is this a fad?
In the old days, I read a book a week, now, I read hundreds of tweets a day.
I become aware of numerous issues I never thought about – went from omnivorous, to pescatarian, to vegetarian to vegan.
I learn about the White Helmets and I can give you pretty good reasons to consider veganism. Still, I miss the scientific papers I used to read more than once until I got total understanding.
I miss knowing the scientific names of dolphins and being able to have hours long discussions about cetaceans strandings.
I miss knowing who the animal behavior researchers were and reading all their books.
As I learn more and more about animal welfare, I feel the need to stop and breathe. I need to disconnect, go to a pasture and observe the peaceful bovines in order to find some insight and strength to keep going on the road for a more compassionate world.